When the family tears apart : what about Children’s Rights? an interdisciplinary analysis of parental alienation syndrome’s effects on children

Piguet, Claire Valérie ; De Burgo, Joana (Dir.)

Mémoire de master : Institut universitaire Kurt Bösch, 2011 ; DE2011/MIDE09-10/10.

The present paper depicts the controversial concept of parental alienation syndrome as being an interdisciplinary phenomenon involving the whole familial unit. More specifically, it raises concerns on children’s involvement in the alienation process as actors and victims, and on their short-term coping mechanisms (e.g. cognitive dissonance, conformity and the use of drugs). Described most often... Plus

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    Summary
    The present paper depicts the controversial concept of parental alienation syndrome as being an interdisciplinary phenomenon involving the whole familial unit. More specifically, it raises concerns on children’s involvement in the alienation process as actors and victims, and on their short-term coping mechanisms (e.g. cognitive dissonance, conformity and the use of drugs). Described most often as a set of manipulative and subtle techniques to turn the child against the non-custodial parent, parental alienation syndrome (known as PAS) is considered as having malevolent repercussions on the family homeostasis and, more particularly, developmental, psychological and sociological consequences on children. Major controversies surrounding PAS and alternative formulations are evoked through the paper which also refers to some very specific articles of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) such as the child’s best interest (art.3 UNCRC), his right to maintain personal relations with both parents (art.9 UNCRC) or his right to express his views and opinions (art.12 UNCRC). The paper attempts to put special emphasis on the recognition of the alienated children’s suffering that deserves to be addressed, as well as the knowledgment of their resourcefulness. Finally, trails for appropriate interventions that involve various professionals (mental health specialists, psychologists, social workers and attorneys) are mentioned.